I'll have to open with a simple statement, Conan is the King of Late Night. This is a man who's been on the air for more than two decades, with a career spanning from writing for The Simpsons to hosting the Emmys, twice. The show follows of course the historical talk show format, but that's about the only conventional thing about it. On TBS I feel Conan's much more free to experiment and to express himself, not always to critical acclaim, but certainly to great amusement, showcasing ridiculous gags and segments that often involve cheap costumes, fake infomercials, and props. Guests are varied, and unlike The Tonight Show, it's not the usual A-listers with boring stories about their dog or diet. While Conan's historical reputation still attracts movie stars to TBS, guests are usually the more interesting middle tier of actors with stronger followings but less popularity. While on most talk shows people tune in for the guest, Conan is one of the few programs where I tune in for the host. Many times I won't even know who the person being interviewed is, but Conan's effortless humor makes it worth my while to stick around. His signature style is foolish and self deprecating, but no part of it is dumb. Conan is silly comedy for non silly people, fighting the American standard of Roasts and fake laughter (Cough, Jimmy) with original, heartfelt jokes that aren't shy of hitting back at the jokester. One overarching reason I'd give to watch this show, beyond the host's intelligence and humor, is that Conan is a class act. Throughout the years I've seen him pay tribute and homage to many comedians, actors and celebrities, and every single time I believed him. If he mourned the death of a colleague, it was because he cared about it, not because it would bring ratings to the network, and that's especially clear in many instances where he paid tribute to comedy greats who the major talk show hosts couldn't care less about like Sid Caesar or Garry Shandling. When Letterman played his last show, Conan told his viewers to switch to his channel and record his slot for later. He's a man of character, which is very hard to come by in Hollywood.If I could boil down three reasons to watch this show they'd be its wit, its humor and the lovable Andy Richter.
I'll admit-I love watching late night talk shows. My average bedtime last year was 2 AM just because I wanted to stay up and watch them all. Personally, my favorite is Craig Ferguson, who just seems so spontaneous and genuine. I like Leno because I'm a traditionalist. I can't stand Letterman, or Paul Shaffer (who knew you could shave a parrot and teach it to be your bandleader). Kimmel is OK, but does he have to keep looking at Cleto to get a laugh? And now we get to Conan.In my opinion, this tonight show conflict is total bulls**t. Don't blame Jay Leno, don't blame Conan, blame the executives at NBC. Plus people, is it really a stab in the back if you're given $45 million to walk away? All business aside, I'll admit I watch Conan out of sympathy. I always hope that one night Conan will have jokes flying this way and that...to this day I'm still hoping. True, Conan does occasionally tell a good joke or two, but that's it. Now I'm not saying Conan O'Brien isn't funny. Indeed, when I saw him on Inside the Actor's Studio he was hilarious. He was being himself! Conan the show does not equal the wit and humanity of Conan the man. When I watch Conan, I always get this feeling that Conan would rather be anywhere but there. He always appears nervous, and his self-deprecation and weird bumpkin dances do more to enhance his stick-bug physique than his comedic talent. His mad scientist voices are just, well, weird. His interviews are awkward, mainly because of this nervousness. Any transition to another question is a very sad-sounding "um." To add evidence to this assumption of Conan's anxiety, I'll recount to you an episode where Conan had a martial arts expert as a guest. When the stunts required Conan to take his jacket off, he revealed his underarms, which were drenched in sweat. I'm no comedian (professionally), but I always learned that one of the top 10 rules of a comedian is that they should never laugh at their own jokes more than the audience. Evidently Conan left the rulebook back in New York, because he does it all the time. My mother stated, and I would have to agree, that Conan looked better with bangs. Now it looks like the Lorax is living on his head. Andy Richter doesn't help either. Again, probably a very decent, humble man, but not fit for the comedic podium. Still, a sight better than Paul "I'll just repeat what Dave said so it's funny" Shaffer. I rate Conan a 7 out of 10. Truth be told, it should be a 6, but I really feel bad for Conan. The show's format and expectations of the audience don't allow him to be himself, a genuinely funny man. He is a better man than a talk-show host, but unfortunately, you don't get paid to be a decent man. It's not my favorite late-night show. Still, I'll watch it just to hope. Hang in there Conan.
I have been a huge Conan fan going on ten years now. Ever since I was in high school and I started watching Late Night. He pretty much had me in stitches every night. The only time I'd check out the competition was if Conan was a repeat, yet I never felt the others really matched up to him.When Leno announced that he would be giving the Tonight Show to Conan to avoid any confusion as to who was going to succeed Leno, I had a lot of respect for him doing that. (and I could never stand Leno) So then Conan gets the Tonight show and Leno precedes him with a poorly thought out prime time show. We all know what happened next so I won't bore you with the details. I like most people, completely sided with Conan and felt awful that my favourite TV personality was getting a raw deal.But now Conan is back and it has been close to a year since his new show started airing. I have to admit the first two weeks seemed a bit shaky. Almost like all that was going through Conan's mind was "I don't feel like I should be back on the air. What's going to happen this time?" and I'd say a good chunk of the monologue jokes for the first two weeks were taking jabs at NBC and so on. It was expected of course but it got very tedious and sounded much more like bitterness and complaining and by the end of the first week I was getting sick of hearing it. I kept watching however, remaining hopeful and sure enough, once they got over the initial jitters things started improving greatly, Conan seemed comfortable in his new digs and was back to his old self, almost with a new found confidence that he doesn't have to worry about pleasing anybody but without the arrogance that would lead to laziness. Andy is also much funnier too. I have to admit that I didn't really like him on The Tonight Show (I started watching Conan after Andy had been gone for a while) so my only impressions of him were from Tonight Show and he wasn't really allowed to do much except pipe in with a stupid joke from his podium. Just seemed forced and annoying. Yet now that he's back to his co-hosting duties, I can see why Conan and him are best friends. They have great chemistry and Andy is just as funny as Conan.While it sucks that Conan had to get screwed over, and that the two-faced, giant-jawed Leno is still allowed to keep the Tonight Show; I must say I like Conan's new show much better than the Tonight Show. While Conan vowed he would not change his style of gags and skits on Tonight show, it was clear he was forced to tone it down and now on TBS Conan seems to have free reign to do the show how he wants and I will continue to watch!
What is a guy from Argentina doing, reviewing this red haired freak talk show? Good question. I got to know Conan in 1996, thanks to an overseas life I was living, somewhere in Europe. I didn't speak that land's language but I did understand somehow a little English. So, I had no option. Gotta watch cable. MTV, NBC... Then one night I saw this weird guy (it came right after the funny looking guy with the big chin). I think his hair hypnotized me. I spent one year living there, and, seriously, I didn't have the best of times, I was only 17, far away from my family and culture, without the ability to speak or understand well, but every night Conan got me laughing. And every night it worked. Conan was actually important for me and when I came back to Argentina I missed the show. Internet wasn't such a useful tool those days (almost 15 years ago). Years later, a cable channel here started to show some Late Night with Conan O Brien and I was the happiest man on earth but then, like just one or two months after it started, BAM, Late Night was over because Conan was going to replace Leno. What the! I was so angry. Late Night was perfect and I didn't think Conan needed to do that. He is different to the other "important" talk show hosts and that is what we all like about him. I lost track of his new show and a couple of weeks ago I saw this funny image of Conan and an Owl and the TBS logo... Now, thanks to the internet, I'm watching his new show. I'm aware of what happened and I think it's sad that NBC did what it did and I have to say Leno I don't like your chin anymore and I'm so glad Conan's hair is still red and moves like a salsa dancer. I also watched his goodbye speech on youtube and I think Conan was a gentleman and I loved that. I've seen all the shows, with the moving moon and Tom Hanks getting wet and stuff and it all makes me feel so good, like when I was 17 (I'm 31 now) and I needed company and a good laugh. Thanks Conan. I'm also amazed with the quality of guests he's having. TBS, take care of him (and off course of his sidekick Andy... and the band... and I do miss Max Weinberg). Please excuse my poor English... no wonder, I learned it with TV and CoCo.EDIT: I just want to add that's been 2 years since I did this review. I watch now the show every day on my Ipod, while doing a 1 hour bus ride to work... And I get there smiling. Thanks again Conan!